That’s Just Me…

Confession: I probably have undiagnosed adult ADHD.

I read an article on Broadly titled: “‘I Thought I Was Stupid’: The Hidden Struggle for Women with ADHD

The struggles that some of those women faced felt like I was being monitored on hidden cameras.

On Saturday, I focused exclusively on homeschooling grades.  I did not shower, or do ANYTHING else until that was done to satisfaction.  Fortunately, husband and roomies cooked and fed kids… and talked to them.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

Half the time I can’t find anything I’m looking for and I can’t get organized… and I have major meltdowns if the only consistent item that is remotely organized stops working.  In other words, I threw my iPhone across the house because I had trouble with iCloud and it lost my notes, my music, and my calendar.

The hard part about making coffee in the morning is that you don’t have coffee before you make coffee… I did double the water but half the grounds… came up with a beautiful chamomile tea type drink that was definitely NOT coffee.

I got so excited for sunlight I went for a 40 minute run wearing a comfy and totally unsupportive bra and the wrong shoes.  

Truth is, I always feel brain fried or scattered.  I don’t ever feel like I’m on top of my game because I’m always paranoid that somewhere, somehow, I dropped the ball.  I always do.  Can you imagine what managing finances feels like?

In all this, I am super thankful for a few things:

1) The stigma around differently wired brains is falling apart.  I laugh at the Hispanic memes showing a flip flop as “ADHD therapy” when we were children because it’s true; failing at school was NOT an option and though I graduated summa cum laude, traditional school was never enjoyable for me.  Which is also why I’m more introverted; I CANNOT concentrate on more than two people at a time!  But now, even if I never get diagnosed and I don’t take any medications, it’s ok. I don’t have to “have it all together”.  It’s ok to need all the help I can get.

2) I homeschool! It puts me in a no-judgment league of my own.  Have y’all seen the movie Bad Moms?  There’s no way I could keep it together for PTA meetings, seriously!  But homeschooling allows me to do life with my children on terms I can mentally and emotionally grasp.  It also allows me flexibility for my own children when they are distracted or hyper-focused so it doesn’t create an academic problem; if Anakin wants to study Japan for 8 hours today and thus complete two weeks worth of Social Studies in one Monday, that’s great!  He’ll just catch up on everything he missed today tomorrow and adjust his weekly schedule accordingly.  No missed assignments.  No failed grades.

3) I. have the best tribe.  Seriously.  The moms, the school, the co-op, and the church that has wrapped it’s arms around me and my family are the best in the world!  I live in a non-judgment zone.  I never feel stupid or scattered – or at least, THEY never make me feel that way (I have my inner demons to shush from time to time, but I digress).  I am surrounded by the kind of moms that see me show up to co-op and my kids are wearing two different shoes and we forgot lunches and someone will say, “Here’s a cup of coffee, and our kids can share their lunches with your kids.  Go sit down and catch your breath, sweetie.”  

4) I have the best family.  My husband is the perfect man for me because I don’t think anyone else would put up with 12 plus years of my crap.  He doesn’t just tolerate it, he helps! He has come home from work to find that I was so focused on whatever I haven’t even started dinner.  No worries, he just starts cooking! I don’t know if he truly understands how disastrous my brain is, or if he only understands how frustrated and upset it makes me feel… but either way, he’s a huge help mate.  And so are my kids.  They are super helpful and they keep track of their chores to make living as easy as possible.  And they are great thinkers with a great sense of humor!

The other day I took my youngest out for errands while the other two were at choir. He’s 6 years old. I repeated to myself all I had to get at least five times.  I bought him a hot chocolate and me a latte while we drove around town.  We discussed all the construction and how frustrating it is for mommy to have to re-route her life just to get to Walmart.  He helped me remember all the items we had to get and even reminded me to tithe online.  As we’re heading back he goes, “See Mom? We drank coffee and spoke about traffic, bought something we needed, put money in savings, and tithed.  You can go home and just relax now, I did all the adulting for you!”

Yup, that’s how we roll.  And it’s ok too.


He calls me Beautiful

Confession: My sense of style can be summed up into yoga pants, a hoodie, and crocs.  It’s atrocious, even by Alaska’s standards (and Alaska is the worst-dressed-state in the US).

ugly selfie

Obviously, vanity and body image are not a very high priority on my list. And even with all my Zumba, yoga, PiYO, and running – my motivation to eat clean and exercise have more to do with how it helps me feel and not how it makes me look.

Today, our pastor ended his sermon with the question, “What would Jesus name you?”  Backsplash: we had finished reading John 1, the part where Jesus meets Simon and says He’ll call him Peter, aka The Rock (yup, the original one).  It was an awesome service…

… But I digress…

“What would Jesus name you?”

I closed my eyes to think about the sermon point and before I had a chance to respond, I heard God’s voice say, “Beautiful”.  Without missing a beat.  Without hesitation.  I almost looked up and around…

Am I on candid camera?

church worshipIt wasn’t sarcastic.  It wasn’t with exaggeration.  It was a sincere compliment in the depths of my heart, accompanied with a dream like imagery of a father lavishly telling his daughter that same word in response to a prom dress.

Beautiful.

It was not a compliment I was looking for.  It wasn’t one I felt I needed.

But lately I’ve been feeling bummier than usual too.  The medication I’m taking has messed with my looks a bit. My hair falls out in clumps and I have the receding hair line of a 45 year old man.  My nails look brittle and yellow all the time – like I could be a hand model for the zombie apocalypse.  And I have a hard time finding a foundation that matches my off-jaundice skin tone in all 50 shades depending on menstrual cycle, time of day, and current humidity levels.

bike selfieSo I cut my hair, paint my nails, and I soak my feet – doing everything I can to look at least ok.  I am not going for “Beautiful” – just above “sickly” would do just fine.

Still, it was nice to get some lovin’ like that.  The affirming, strengthening love of Jesus that gives you hope.

I know that when He spoke that word to me, He wasn’t referring to my current state.  He’s not fooled by the make up and the nail polish.  I know He sees me as He created me in my mother’s womb, and as I’ll be in eternity.

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[g] bear the image of the heavenly man.  1 Corinthians 15:45-49

 

Turned Inside Out

insideout2
Some friends are like family. You do life with them – the good, the bad, and the ugly… Our family is blessed to have such friends!
Confession: This is probably one of the most awkward, uncomfortable, painful seasons of my life.  And while it’s still good, it’s not pleasant.

When God wants to do something mind-kabooming in our lives, it usually comes with some moments of backs against the wall, living on a prayer, can only stand on faith type of seasons.  I’ll set the stage for the beginning of mine:

insideout1
In spite of our home life being flipped upside down, our church life has been steadily growing and thriving! I love serving at my church!
We’re renting an apartment that was falling apart. Winters are already hard on me because of Rheumatoid Arthritis, but now add to that windows that don’t insulate, mold, and a leaking heater system that effectively blew through more natural gas in June (when it was 80F) than it did last November.

Financially we couldn’t afford it.  Physically I couldn’t keep up with it.  So it was around this time that we thought, “Maybe the Lord will open a door for us to buy a house?”  Thus we started that process…

… But there is some work to be done before we can receive that glorious pre-approval (which to me it’s the equivalent of having a VISA with the potential of getting a green card.  And yes, I would know.

Literally, it felt as if God picked up our home and turned it so the door faced down, and started shaking it.

insideout3
We went to the State Fair last week. Roller coaster rides are fun! But real ones you get off from in 3 minutes. Not the metaphore-for-life ones…
Between June 15th and June 27th, as we’re plugging away our dream of homeownership (realizing it may not come to pass until next year), my health took a dramatic turn south.  And so did our finances when what we owed our landlord just about hit the North Pole at the same time.

I was freaking out at the mall when we met up with friends.  We gave them the breakdown of what was happening…

…”There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Somewhere in Proverbs…

There are friends, and then, there are family you just don’t happen to have anything genetically in common with them.  I would describe this couple as the latter. I didn’t have to start over explaining what 2-3 years of trying to stay afloat in that apartment was like, because they KNEW.

insideout5
Alaska has a way of making you all-around tougher: You love more fiercely, you live more openly, and you worship more whole-heartedly – because that’s what it takes to make it.
Just like I didn’t have to start from the beginning of the progression of RA and all the problems it has been causing me.  I just told them I decided, per my doctor’s recommendation, to take a small dose of a chemo-grade drug once a week in hopes of having better weeks than not.  They KNEW.

Even then, they asked us to consider moving in with them.

And so, come June 30th, we gave 30 days notice to move out.  We were out by the 15th of July.  Keep in mind that up until June 27th of this year, I had NO idea that we would move out. But we did it!  And we gracefully showed appreciation to our landlords by turning in that apartment as close to brand new as we physically could.

This process turned me inside out.

It required me to ask for help, and have my church and small group come and see our living environment at it’s worst.  Talk about airing your dirty laundry; I have never felt so vulnerable and transparent with my church. Ever. Not pleasant.

We had to look at our credit history and review every item, turn our finances from a private matter to inside out, all over the table, for several people to see.  We painfully revisited years of unemployment and financial hardship that I was hoping to forget.

insideout4
4 adults, 5 kids, 3 dogs, and 1 bunny later…
Here I am, doing parenting, homeschooling, pet-ownership, housekeeping, and marriage in view of friends… There are no skeletons in the closet.  Because we don’t HAVE a closet.

And while I’m doing life with friends, I am facing the debilitating aspects of this illness and medication side effects I’d rather not… Like my hair falling off like a husky in the summer… or the mouth sores that ruin my appetite… or the nausea that won’t let me sleep… I have to face the fact that I am not physically strong enough for much… And that I need help.  More than a roof over our heads and some food in the fridge, I still need MORE help.

This is uncomfortable, but I can’t deny the miracles of grace and mercy He has done for us through our family in Christ!  The Lord didn’t just turn me inside out to shame me. I can see His work in my life through this!  I truly believe this season has yet to reveal all the good it will work out in our families.

This is better than a season of Friends!

A transparent look at faith, family, and fitness from my perspective…